I posted this on Facebook the other day, and it received more attention than most of my posts. What do those of you with a mental illness or with a loved one with mental illness think about this? If you hate this idea, there is no need to be disrespectful; we can disagree without disliking one another.
In the Wake of Waffle House
When I was married to my ex-husband, we went hunting for grouse on many evenings after he got home from work. Once, while camping, he wanted to teach me to shoot. I shot his pistol twice. That was a couple of years before I tried to jump off a bridge and before I took all of my medication and needed to have my heart jump started.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I am someone who actually knows what it is like to be suicidal, delusional, paranoid, and psychotic. I want nothing to do with a gun. I don’t want to go to a shooting range. I don’t want to shoot at a tin can. I don’t want a gun in my house for safety, and I don’t want to be around anyone who has one, not in Arizona (open carry) or anywhere else. If I see a gun on someone’s hip when I visit Tucson, I immediately move away from them.
I know that the majority of people with a mental illness are not violent. I know the statistics, mentally ill people are more likely to be victims than perpetrators, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I have been out of my rational mind on more than one occasion. I could never live with the guilt of hurting someone even if I did it while psychotic and the court found me incapable or whatever. No. I don’t want that chance.
You see, I don’t completely trust the mind I have been given – it has deserted me before. When I am in recovery, I won’t hurt a human or animal (I do eat fish), and even though this is true of me, I can’t say with 100% certainty that I will never again be a danger to myself or others.
I get vaccines every year, not so much to protect myself but to protect those who are more vulnerable and could lose their lives if they contracted certain illnesses. I do this because I want to live in society and be a responsible and compassionate member. For this reason, I don’t believe those people with a brain illness should own guns. There are many restrictions to driving with certain illnesses, and I see gun ownership in the same way.
I should never be allowed to purchase a gun and society has every right to enforce that on me for the good of the whole (me included). Go ahead vote to take away my second amendment rights; I will be the person behind you, checking the same box you do. Don’t worry, my sense of freedom won’t be shattered.